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Behind the Scenes with Microsoft: Xbox, Design Lab and Interactive Surface Computing

Microsoft is an institution in the world of tech. The company makes everything from computer software to gaming hardware.

We recently got to go behind the scenes inside their sprawling Seattle-area campus to check out what the company is working on for the future.

Our tour started at the visitor center.

“It’s kind of a history tour where you can see the history of computing,” said Microsoft blogger, Steve Clayton. “You can also see some of the latest and greatest Microsoft technology.”

The company has come a long way since it was founded in 1975, now powering over a billion computers around the world with its operating systems and took in nearly $75 billion in revenue last year.

Next, in the design lab, a small group of engineers–about 12 total–create prototypes of some of Microsoft’s most popular gadgets. Hundreds of designs are created before deciding on a final product.

“For the new Xbox One, what we’re trying to do is [make] the console and our products fit in with the environment better,” said Xbox Engineer, Scott Dallmeyer.

Nearby is Microsoft Research, a lab for advancing science said Jeannette Wing, Head of Microsoft Research International.

There, engineers work on a technology called Illumishare. It’s a way for people to collaborate using a digital pen and paper, regardless of distance.

“We want people to be able to share any object on any surface, when they’re working together remotely,” said Microsoft Engineer, Sasa Junuzovic.

A program called Sketch Insight makes your boring data presentations come to life, creating animated graphs and visual tools using the data on the screen.

We only scratched the surface (apologies for the pun) from the labs at Microsoft, next time we’ll be checking out next generation displays.

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